Cockatiel Adjusting Crop – The Real Reason Behind This Behavior

A cockatiel adjusting crop is a normal behavior, although not very many humans understand this.

After all, we do things differently, so it can get baffling when your pet does this.

Basically, it is not uncommon to see a cockatiel adjusting crop frequently – some may even do it over 5 times per day. But for some owners, it may seem worrisome and may even assume that their pet is sick.

When your pet clears and adjusts its crop, it may be possible that it is only yawning. They may be yawning, while at the same time stretching their neck and sticking their tongue out. It may even be followed by them shaking their heads.

So, if your cockatiel does this, then it should be fine – nothing to worry about. However, if clearing the crop happens more and at a longer duration each time, then you may want to consult your vet. There are cases of crop infection, which is concerning.

Today, we will talk about the reasons why cockatiels adjust their crops and some cases where it may no longer be normal. Here we go.

cockatiel adjusting crop

Cockatiel Adjusting Crop – Why It Happens

A bird’s digestive system is complex. Basically, the crop is a part that stores a bird’s food temporarily. Then, it initiates the digestion process prior to the food getting into the stomach. By checking the crop, you can assess when your pet last ate.

This portion of your bird’s body is located at the esophagus’ base, and it is kind of like a pouch with thin walls. When the crop is already empty, your cockatiel may feel hunger. Hence, it proceeds to eating. Moreover, the crop is quite flexible, so it is able to eat as much as it can and wants to.

Moreover, the crop is a food reserve for these birds. When other sources energy have been used up, they rely on the crop and the food in it for energy.

Understanding The Cockatiel’s Crop

After a bird eats, the crop tends to feel firm and swollen. However, it will eventually shrink as your pet digests its food. Interestingly, food can stay in the crop for a maximum of twelve hours.

During the digestion process, the tiny muscles in the crop make use of peristaltic contractions, which then propels food down the digestive tracts. This is what allows the food to be digested and absorbed by the body. Hence, your pet can get all the nutrients it needs from the food it eats.

However, there are cases when your cockatiel may be adjusting its crop more frequently than normal. They may also do this longer than a few seconds, which can be concerning. In this case, it is possible that there may be a crop infection. This is something serious that requires prompt treatment as it can be fatal to your pet.

This type of infection may be caused by yeast or bacteria. The treatment process depends on the infection source and type. Hence, if it is a bacterial crop infection, then antibiotics are prescribed as treatment. In the case of a yeast infection, this can be treated with an antifungal medicine.

Infections may be due to food getting stuck or trapped in the crop. This is usually how an infection begins. However, there are other causes of a crop infection such as lacerations, dehydration, as well as trichomas, which are organisms that cause the crop to dilate.

Ideally, the food must clear the crop within a day or 24 hours. But when food gets stuck, bacteria or yeast that cause infection will eventually spread, multiply and wreak havoc to your pet. 

Usually the initial sign of a cockatiel’s crop infection is vomiting or regurgitating. But here’s the kicker – cockatiels are not the best at showing their illness. So, you may not easily realize that your pet is sick since it naturally throws food around. 

The best way to determine any signs of a crop infection is by inspecting the food in its beak. If the food appears moist or has a thick mucus, then couple that with moisture on the throat or head, it is possible that an infection is present. There may even be some snakelike, odd neck movements going on, which is a sign of regurgitation.

Also, you should look closely at its beak. Do you smell something sour or foul coming from the crop? This strange odor is due to a combination of many things such as yeast or bacteria and the old food stuck inside.

Furthermore, rotting food creates gas, which emanates from your pet’s mouth. Hence, the condition is easy to identify when you smell it. So, when your cockatiel has a foul-smelling breath, it is most likely due to an infected crop.

Read More: What’s The Deal With A Cockatiel Mirror Obsession?

Your Next Step

As we have mentioned earlier, there is nothing wrong with a cockatiel adjusting crop a few times a day. It is normal since it is merely trying to clear its food. 

But problems exist when you notice something unusual with the crop – as well as the breath of your pet. If upon looking at the food in its crop, and you notice it looks moist and somewhat mucus-like, then it is a possible bacterial infection.

Or, if the breath is foul and releases a sour smell, it may be caused by yeast infection. So, when you observe these symptoms, you should not delay any further a visit to an avian vet. A crop infection is a serious illness that should never be taken lightly. Cockatiels can die from it when the symptoms persist and no treatment has been provided.

Make sure that you take your pet to a vet at the first sight of an infection, so that proper medication can be prescribed. Usually, the prognosis is good when early intervention is provided. So, make it a point to prioritize a vet visit to ensure the health and life of your precious cockatiel.

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